If you are looking for traditional Irish Soda Bread - this isn’t it. This is more of cake, and you might even agree it could be dessert. This is delicious with butter and mint/apple jelly. It’s a far cry from earliest known published recipe for Irish Soda Bread. That was first published in the Nov 1836 Farmer’s Magazine in London.
I enjoyed reading up a little bit on Irish Soda Bread. Irish Soda Bread became a staple food after the Famine years (from 1845 - 1852). One site pointed out that if your Irish/American ancestors left Ireland for America during the Famine years, they never learned about making soda bread while they were in Ireland.
If your soda bread recipe has raisins, it’s called “Spotted Dog” or “Railway Cake”. If it contains raisins, eggs, baking powder, sugar, or shortening, it’s called “cake” and not bread. These ingredients make it taste better, but they aren’t used in traditional soda bread.
The ONLY ingredients in Irish Soda Bread are flour, baking soda, sour milk (or buttermilk), and salt. That’s all, period! This was a daily bread that didn’t keep long and had to be baked every few days. It was not a festive cake, and didn’t contain any extras like caraway seeds, raisins, candied fruit, etc. Times were hard, and there weren’t ‘luxury’ ingredients available to make things taste better.
So, this is a far cry from traditional. But it really is good. Be grateful our circumstances allow us to add other ingredients that are so readily available.
Spread it with butter, jelly, honey, or whatever else you like - and it becomes a fun NEW tradition for our Americanized St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
You might want to make the traditional Irish Soda Bread to serve side-by-side this “luxury” version (just for contrast... it will make you thankful for all you have) That recipe is listed at the bottom of this post...
For the recipe, go to: